On Friday, Embakasi East Member of Parliament, Babu Owino, admitted that at one point in his life he had to sell local illicit brew, Chang’aa, to make a living.
“My dad passed away when I was in class three. After he died, my mother had to settle in Nyalenda slums, Kisumu, where she started to sell Chang’aa.
“It was a situation whereby if you leave the house in the morning, mum will not mind where you are going and what time you are coming back. No matter what time you returned, there was no food,” Babu revealed, in an interview with Citizen TV.
The dire poverty they faced when young propelled Babu to help sell the illicit brew so as to finance his education and help his mum put food on the table, after joining Kisumu Boys High School.
“I was arrested selling chang’aa, a day to my KCSE biological practicals. I was taken to Kisumu Central Police Station where I could not afford Ksh500 sh to pay for my release as a tot for changa’a was Ks10.
“Thanks to a Senior Ploce, a Mr. Wanyama, whom I still remember well. He released me, put me in a Land Cruiser and took me to Kisumu Boys. I did my exams, not in school uniform, but my home clothes,” Babu recalled.
Babu further heaped praise on her mum, appreciating that the tough conditions inspired him to be who he is right now.
“She ensured that if we missed food, she compensated with a piece of advice. If we were taking Ugali with salt or tea without sugar, she’d make it look like you would make it in life.
“During those days, the policemen were so powerful. Nyalenda was an area where people were being caned by police. I saw my mum being whipped. For a child, you remember what you see and not what you hear. Up to now what I saw created a serious mark in my mind,” the ODM legislator revealed.
After the KCSE exams, Babu bought a newspaper for the first time his life after being told he was among the top 100. He ended up crying for missing out.
In 2007, he was called at Egerton University to do Business Management after attaining an A-. He, however, shrugged off that offer and went on to call his cousin, John Omondi, who asked him to travel to Mombasa to start life.
He joined The University of Nairobi, (UON), did a degree in Actuarial Science, a Masters in the same course, another degree in Law and currently, he is undertaking Masters in Law.
He also was a student leader for almost a decade. He would later join politics and clinch the Embakasi East seat as an MP under ODM in 2017.
Watch the video, courtesy of Citizen TV.